Roof racks and roof boxes are a great way to extend your storage space and carry extra objects from A to B using your vehicle.

Long gone are the days when a roof rack simply meant a couple of bars to which objects could be untidily and haphazardly strapped. There are now all kinds of roof-mountable options for cars of all sizes – whether you require something as a permanent fixture, or merely for one-off journeys.

We’ve scoured the web for the useful and well-reviewed options currently available. If you need to transport something on the roof of your car, you should find just the thing to help on our list below.

Before you begin, it’s important to familiarise yourself with what features your vehicle may already have to facilitate the use of roof-mounted accessories. For example, many estate cars and MPVs have roof rails already present. As such, make sure you know what you need before purchase, to avoid buying more (or less) than you need.

1. One for cars with existing rails

Maypole Aluminium Aero Roof Bars

If you have a car that already has rails on it’s roof, these inexpensive Aero Roof Bars are just the thing to form the foundation of a simple yet sturdy roof rack.

An Amazon best seller, they are road safe for loads of up to 60kgs – the equivalent of three heavy suitcases, and therefore more than up to the job of carrying roof boxes or cycle carriers.

Despite the low price, many reviewers describe them as sturdy and easy to fit.

Positives:

  • Low cost.
  • Fit most cars (but do check your measurements!)
  • Perfect for boxes and cycle carriers.

Negatives:

  • Not compatitble with T-Track fitting accessories.

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2. One for cars without existing rails

Summit 108 Roof Bars

If your car’s not pre-fitted for roof accessories, it’s not a problem. These Summit bars are designed for cars without factory roof rails, and don’t cost much more than the option above.

The fixings supplied are compatible with a vast range of cars, but you are advised to check before ordering. There’s a detailed list available online.

This is a versatile product, and owners report an easy installation experience.

Positives:

  • Requires no existing fittings.
  • Perfect for boxes and bike carriers.
  • Inexpensive.

Negatives:

  • Not compatible with all cars – essential to check.

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3. A high capacity roof box for all purposes

THULE Ocean 80 Car Roof Box

THULE are a well-known name in car accessories, and while there are cheaper options available, you tend to get what you pay for!

This roof box is sleek, but has a large 320 litre capacity. It can hold up to 50kg and weighs just 10kg on its own. It’s lockable and will fit onto almost any roof bars.

Best of all, it loads from the rear, which makes it so much more practical in day to day use than something you have to climb up to or lift up and down. Perfect for occasional AND every day use.

Positives:

  • Wide compatibility.
  • Easy to load.
  • UV protection to prevent fading.

Negatives:

  • Cheaper options available.

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4. A portable option

Thule K55730SBA10 Folding Roof Box

This is another high-quality option from THULE, but very different to the last. Designed to be highly portable, this roof box / bag can be easily removed and stowed, with no tools required.

Camping is the first use that springs to mind for this, but with a 50kg maximum load it can hold plenty of goods of all kinds. It fits both aero and square bars.

Just like it’s rigid cousin above, it allows for easy access to the contents, with both side and rear opening possible.

Positives:

  • Highly portable, yet sturdy.
  • High capacity.
  • Great reviews.

Negatives:

  • None!

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5. One for the cyclists

Thule ProRide Twin Pack

One of the most popular reasons to install roof racks / bars is to carry cycles, so we finish this round up with a twin-pack of roof carriers for bikes.

In case you’re wondering why we’re featuring yet another THULE product, we’re doing so because we found one big thing in common with all the cheaper roof-mount cycle carriers out there – a host of bad reports and negative reviews. These are almost universally praised and well-regarded – and if you’re someone who cares about cycling you probably have a steed you wouldn’t want to trust to an inferior product.

These are sturdy, lockable, and available in packs of one, two and three.

Positives:

  • Durable.
  • Well reviewed.

Negatives:

  • More expensive than some other (inferior) options.

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Three Essential Tips!

If you’re mounting anything to your car roof, ignore the following tips at your peril!

  1. While many roof accessories are easy to self-install, don’t leave things to chance if you’re not comfortable with such jobs – the dangers of incorrect installation are simply too great.
  2. Always remember when you have something mounted to your roof making your car higher – it seems obvious but people do sometimes forget for bridges and tunnels!
  3. Always read instructions, and stay on the right side of maximum loading guidlines.

IMAGE CREDIT: Wikimedia Commons

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